Review: 'Stargate Atlantis: Complete Series' Blu-Ray

Way more special features here than a Stargate fan could hope to watch.

The Show

I think if you wanted to point to provide a relatively succinct definition of the typical offering from the SyFy Channel, it would be the first two series from the Stargate franchise--SG-1 and Atlantis. Both series cleanly lift the Star Trek template (explore, investigate, and sometimes fight) with generally charismatic casts balancing good-natured humor and budgetarily manageable action. Reading over that last bit of text, it may sound like I'm trying to stealth in some digs at both long(ish)-running series, but that's quite the contrary: the Stargate series represent a fairly reliable form of entertainment with hints of fascinating mythology and an emphasis on that always-elusive "fun" factor.

Stargate Atlantis, the show under consideration here, tweaks the SG-1 premise a bit, moving away from weekly adventures focused on extending alien contact with Earth (or defending against it) to more of a "sci-fi survival" model, where a band of explorers--led by Joe Flanigan's character Major John Sheppard (see what they did there?)--attempt to brave a new, mysterious, and potentially dangerous environment in the titular lost city as they likewise fend off regular series baddies, the hard-to-kill, vampiric Wraiths, and later, evil nanobots.

This is the stuff of easily digestible, syndication-friendly sci-fi TV, and again, there's nothing at all wrong with that. During the imposing running time of this set, I seldom found myself bored and (more importantly) often found myself engaged with the characters and looking forward to the next episode. And hey, you get to see pre-Conan, pre-Khal Drogo Jason Mamoa strutting his stuff for three seasons, providing a good reason for why Hollywood came knocking when they needed an imposing head-kicker for film and cable TV.

Audio and Video

The series is presented in widescreen 1:78:1 in 1080p, meaning this is likely the best the show has looked for many viewers. The downside is that all of that additional visual detail allows you to see some of the--I guess artifacts... pixelization--around many of the major effects setpieces. It's not enough to pull you out of the show, but it's a frequent reminder of both Stargate Atlantis' modest budget and how this kind of thing will be an issue as more effects-heavy series from that period get hi-def upgrades.

On the audio front, it's presented in 5.1 DTS-HD. I'm down to a 2.1 setup for the moment, so I can't vouch fully for the sound quality, but I never felt like I was missing a thing in terms of the set's aural experience.

Special Features

Over 20 discs, there are more features than I could possibly detail. You'll see that Fox brought over the lion's share of special features from the DVD sets to this one, so don't expect a whole lot of new content with this release. Not to complain about getting an already ample stream of supplemental content, it would have been nice to get some kind of connected or Blu-ray enhanced features to really take advantage of the format.

Still, that's just quibbling, and there's more than enough here to keep you busy as you explore (and likely re-explore) the series.

Disc 1 (Season 1):

• “Rising” (Parts 1 and 2)

o Commentary by Director Martin Wood and Actor Joe Flanigan

• “Hide and Seek”

o Commentary by Actors Rachel Luttrell, Torri Higginson and Paul McGillion

• “Thirty Eight Minutes”

o Commentary by Actors Rachel Luttrell ad Paul McGillion

• “Suspicion”

• Extras

o “Stargate: Atlantis” Set Tour with Directors Martin Wood and Peter DeLuise

Disc 2 (Season 1):

• “Childhood’s End”

o Commentary by Writer Martin Gero and Actors Rachel Luttrell and Rainbow Sun Francks

• “Poisoning the Well”

• “Underground”

• “Home”

• “The Storm”

o Commentary by Director Martin Wood, Writer Martin Gero and Actor David Hewlett

• Extras

o Wraithal Discrimination: It’s Not Easy Being Green

o Diary of Rainbow Sun Francks

Disc 3 (Season 1):

• “The Eye”

o Commentary by Director Martin Wood, Writer Martin Gero and Actor David Hewlett

• “The Defiant One”

o Commentary by Director Peter DeLuise and Stunt Coordinator Dan Shea

• “Hot Zone”

o Commentary by Writer Martin Gero and Actors Rachel Luttrell, Rainbow Sun Francks and Paul McGillion

• “Sanctuary”

o Commentary by Actors Rachel Luttrell and Torri Higginson

• “Before I Sleep”

• Extras

o Mission Directive: “The Storm/The Eye”

o Mission Directive: “Sanctuary”

o Mission Directive: “Before I Sleep”

Disc 4 (Season 1):

• “Brotherhood”

o Commentary by Director Martin Wood, Writer Martin Gero and Actor David Hewlett

• “Letters from Pegasus”

• “The Gift”

o Commentary by Director Peter DeLuise and Actor Gary Jones

• “The Siege: Part 1”

o Commentary by Director Martin Wood, Writer Martin Gero and Actor David Hewlett

• “The Siege: Part 2”

o Commentary by Director Martin Wood, Writer Martin Gero and Actors Joe Flanigan and David Hewlett

• Extras

o Mission Directive: “The Siege”

o A look back on Season One with Writer Martin Gero

Disc 5 (Season 2):

• “The Siege: Part 3”

o Commentary by Director Martin Wood, Writer Martin Gero and Actors Joe Flanigan and David Hewlett

• “The Intruder”

o Commentary by Director Peter DeLuise and Actor Gary Jones

• “Runner”

o Commentary by Director Martin Wood and Actor David Hewlett

• “Duet”

o Commentary by Director Peter DeLuise, Writer Martin Gero and Actor David Hewlett

• “Condemned”

o Commentary by Director Peter DeLuise and Actor Gary Jones

• Extras

o Mission Directive: “The Siege: Part 3” featuring Director Martin Wood

o Mission Directive: “The Intruder” featuring Director Peter DeLuise

Disc 6 (Season 2):

• “Trinity”

o Commentary by Director Martin Wood and Writer Damian Kindler

• “Instinct”

o Commentary by Director Andy Mikita and Producer Paul Mullie

• “Conversion”

o Commentary by Writer Martin Gero and Actors Joe Flanigan and David Hewlett

• “Aurora”

o Commentary by Director Martin Wood and Co-Producer Peter DeLuise

• “The Lost Boys”

o Commentary by Writer Martin Gero and Actors Joe Flanigan and David Hewlett

• Extras

o Mission Directive: “Instinct” featuring Director Peter DeLuise

o Introduction to a Character: Ronon Dex

Disc 7 (Season 2):

• “The Hive”

o Commentary by Director Martin Wood

• “Epiphany”

o Commentary by Director Neil Fearnley

• “Critical Mass”

o Commentary by Director Andy Mikita, Actor Rachel Luttrell and Director of Photography Brenton Spencer

• “Grace Under Pressure”

o Commentary by Director Martin Wood, Writer Martin Gero and Actors Amanda Tapping and David Hewlett

• “The Tower”

o Commentary by Producer Paul Mullie and Director Andy Mikita

• Extras

o Profile On: David Hewlett

o “Stargate: Atlantis” Stunts

Disc 8 (Season 2):

• “The Long Goodbye”

o Commentary by Director Andy Mikita, Actor Torri Higginson and Director of Photography Brenton Spencer

• “Coup D’etat”

o Commentary by Director Martin Wood, Writer Martin Gero and Actor David Hewlett

• “Michael”

o Commentary by Director Martin Wood and Supervising Producer/Director Peter DeLuise

• “Inferno”

o Commentary by Director Peter DeLuise and Actor Gary Jones

• “Allies”

o Commentary by Director Andy Mikita, Writer Martin Gero and Actor David Hewlett

• Extras

o Road to a Dream with Martin Gero

o Profile On: Paul McGillion

Disc 9 (Season 3):

• “No Man’s Land”

o Commentary by Producer/Writer Martin Gero and Director/Supervising Producer Marti Wood

• “Misbegotten”

o Commentary by Executive Producer Paul Mullie and Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood

• “Irresistible”

o Commentary by Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood and Director of Photography Michael Blundell

• “Sateda”

o Commentary by Executive Producer, Writer and Director Robert C. Cooper & Director of Photography Brenton Spencer

• “Progeny”

o Commentary by Director Andy Mikita and VFX Supervisor Mark Savela

• Extras

o Mission Directive: “Sateda” featuring Director Robert C. Cooper

o Mission Directive: “Progeny” featuring Director Andy Mikita

o Inside the Stargate: Atlantis Visual FX Department

o Profile On: Rachel Luttrell

Disc 10 (Season 3):

• “The Real World”

• “Common Ground”

o Commentary by Director William Waring and Director of Photography Brenton Spencer

• “McKay & Mrs. Miller”

o Commentary by Producer/Writer Martin Gero and Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood

• “Phantoms”

o Commentary by Co-Executive Producer Carl Binder and Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood

• “The Return, Part 1”

o Commentary by Producer/Writer Martin Gero and Executive Producer Paul Mullie

• Extras

o Mission Directive: “Phantoms” featuring Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood

o General O’Neill Goes to Atlantis

Disc 11 (Season 3):

• “The Return, Part 2”

o Commentary by Producer/Writer Martin Gero and Executive Producer Paul Mullie

• “Echoes”

o Commentary by Director William Waring and Director of Photography Brenton Spencer

• “Irresponsible”

o Commentary by Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood and Director of Photography Michael Blundell

• “Tao of Rodney”

o Commentary by Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood and Director of Photography Michael Blundell

• “The Game”

o Commentary by Director William Waring and Director of Photography Brenton Spencer

• Extras

o Mission Directive: “The Game” featuring Director William Waring

o Masters of the Alien

Disc 12 (Season 3):

• “The Ark”

o Commentary by Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood and VFX Supervisor Mark Savela

• “Sunday”

o Commentary by Producer/Writer Martin Gero and Director William Waring

• “Submersion”

o Commentary by Director Brenton Spencer and VFX Supervisor Mark Savela

• “Vengeance”

o Commentary by Director Andy Mikita and Creature Effects Designer Todd Masters • “First Strike”

o Commentary by Producer/Writer Martin Gero, Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood and VFX Supervisor Mark Savela

• Extras

o Mission Directive: “First Strike” featuring Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood o “Stargate Atlantis:” A Look Back on Season 3 with Martin Gero

Disc 13 (Season 4):

• “Adrift”

o Commentary by Co-Executive Producer/Writer Martin Gero, Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood

• “Lifeline”

o Commentary by Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood and Actor Amanda Tapping

• “Reunion”

o Commentary by Executive Producer/Writer Joseph Mallozzi and Director William Waring

• “Doppelganger”

o Commentary by Executive Producer, Writer and Director Robert C. Cooper and VFX Supervisor Mark Savela

• “Travelers”

o Commentary by Executive Producer/Writer Paul Mullie and Director William Waring

• Extras

o Mission Directive: Doppelganger with Robert C. Cooper

o A New Leader: Amanda Tapping Joins Atlantis

Disc 14 (Season 4):

• “Tabula Rasa”

o Commentary by Producer/Writer Alan McCullough and Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood and Actress Amanda Tapping

• “Missing”

o Commentary by Co-Executive Producer/Writer Carl Binder and Producer/Director Andy Mikita

• “The Seer”

o Commentary by Producer/Writer Alan McCullough and Director Andy Mikita

• “Miller’s Crossing”

o Commentary by Co-Executive Producer/Writer Martin Gero and Producer/Director Andy Mikita

• “This Mortal Coil”

o Commentary by Executive Producer/Writer Joseph Mallozzi and Director William Waring

• Extras

o “Stargate Atlantis” Bloopers

o Mission Directive: “This Mortal Coil” with Director William Waring

Disc 15 (Season 4):

• “Be All My Sins Remember’d”

o Commentary by Co-Executive Producer/Writer Martin Gero and Producer/Director Andy Mikita

• “Spoils of War”

o Commentary by Producer/Writer Alan McCullough and Director William Waring

• “Quarantine”

o Commentary by Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood and Actress Amanda Tapping

• “Harmony”

o Commentary by Co-Executive Producer/Writer Martin Gero and Director William Waring

• “Outcast”

o Commentary by Producer/Writer Alan McCullough and Producer/Director Andy Mikita

• Extras

o Mission Directive: “Quarantine” with Director Martin Wood

o Mission Directive: “Outcast” with Director Andy Mikita

Disc 16 (Season 4):

• “Trio”

o Commentary by Co-Executive Producer/Writer Martin Gero, Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood and Actress Amanda Tapping

• “Midway”

• “The Kindred”

o Commentary by Executive Producer/Writer Joseph Mallozzi and Director Peter F. Woeste

• “The Kindred, Part II”

o Commentary by Producer/Writer Alan McCullough and Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood

• “The Last Man”

o Commentary on “The Last Man” by Executive Producer/Writer Paul Mullie and Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood

• Extras

o The Making of “Trio”

o A Look Back at Season 4

o Deleted Scenes

Disc 17 (Season 5):

• “Search and Rescue”

o Commentary by Executive Producer Martin Gero and Director/Producer Andy Mikita

• “The Seed”

o Commentary by Director William Waring

• “Broken Ties”

o Commentary by Executive Producer Joseph Mallozzi and Actor Jason Momoa

• “The Daedalus Variations”

o Commentary by Supervising Producer Alan McCullough and Director/Producer Andy Mikita

• “Ghost In The Machine”

• Extras

o Mission Directive: “Search and Rescue” with Director Andy Mikita and Producer Martin Gero

o Showdown! Ronon v. Tyre

o Bringing “The Seed” to Life

Disc 18 (Season 5):

• “The Shrine”

• “Whispers”

o Commentary by Executive Producer Joseph Mallozzi and Director William Waring

• “The Queen”

o Commentary by Supervising Producer Alan McCullough and Director Brenton Spencer

• “Tracker”

o Commentary by Executive Producer Carl Binder and Director William Waring

• “First Contact”

o Commentary by Executive Producer Martin Gero and Director/Producer Andy Mikita

• Extras

o Mission Directive: ”Whispers” with Director William Waring and Executive Producer Joseph Mallozzi

o Mission Directive: “Tracker” with Director William Waring and Executive Producer Carl Binder

o Tricks of the Trade: Submerging the Stargate

o Joe Flanigan: A Conversation with the Colonel

Disc 19 (Season 5):

• “The Lost Tribe”

o Commentary by Executive Producer Martin Gero and Director/Producer Andy Mikita

• “Outsiders”

o Commentary by Supervising Producer Alan McCullough and Director William Waring

• “Inquisition”

o Commentary by Director Brenton Spencer and Actor Tobias Slezak

• “The Prodigal”

o Commentary by Executive Producer Carl Binder and Director/Producer Andy Mikita

• “Remnants”

o Commentary by Executive Producer Joseph Mallozzi and Director William Waring

• Extras

o Building a Humanoid with James Robbins and Martin Gero

o Dr. Jackson Goes to Atlantis

o The Life and Death of Michael Kenmore

o Deleted Scenes (Part One)

Disc 20 (Season 5):

• “Brain Storm”

o Commentary by Executive Producer/Director Martin Gero

• “Infection”

• “Identity”

• “Vegas”

o Commentary by Executive Producer Robert C. Cooper, Producer John G. Lenic and Editor Mike Banas

• “Enemy at the Gate”

o Commentary by Executive Producer Paul Mullie and VFX Supervisor Mark Savela • Extras

o Mission Directive: “Brain Storm” with Director Martin Gero

o “Stargate Atlantis” Goes To Vegas

o Deleted Scenes (Part Two)

Stargate Atlantis: The Complete Series is available now.

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